The Obama administration is looking at ways for homeowners who have defaulted on their mortgages to remain in their homes as renters, senior administration officials said on Thursday.

U.S. Treasury assistant secretary Herbert Allison told the Senate Banking Committee that the idea was one of several options under consideration for homeowners whose mortgages can't be made affordable through modification.

It's certainly an idea we are thinking about, Allison said.

William Apgar, senior mortgage finance adviser for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, said the administration was exploring a wide range of options along these lines. However, he said a key obstacle is that homeowners who have gone through the anguish of delinquency and foreclosure often don't want to stay in the property as renters.

(Reporting by David Lawder; Writing by David Lawder and Tim Ahmann; Editing by James Dalgleish)